Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about project titled 'Groin problems in male soccer players are more common than previously reported'

Groin problems in male soccer players are more common than previously reported

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Project status: Published
Project manager: Joar Harøy
Supervisor(s): Thor Einar Andersen, Roald Bahr
Coworker(s): Ben Clarsen, Kristian Thorborg, Per Hölmich


Background: The majority of surveillance studies in soccer have used a time-loss injury definition and many groin problems result from overuse, leading to gradually increasing pain and/or reduced performance without necessarily causing an absence from soccer training or match play. Thus, the magnitude of groin problems in soccer has probably been underestimated in previous studies using traditional injury surveillance methods.

Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of groin problems among soccer players of both gender and at different levels of play in male soccer using a new surveillance method developed to capture both acute and overuse problems.

Study design: Descriptive Epidemiology Study

Method: We registered groin problems during a 6-week period of match congestion using the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC) Overuse Injury Questionnaire. A total of 240 players from 15 teams across different levels of play and both gender were included and responded weekly to the questionnaire. We calculated the average weekly prevalence of all groin problems and of substantial groin problems.

Results: Of the 240 players, 112 male players (59%) and 20 female players (45%) reported at least one episode of groin problems. The average weekly prevalence of any groin problem and substantial groin problems for all male players was 29% (range 23-32% across different levels) and 7% (9-11%), respectively. Elite male players had an increased risk of experiencing groin problems (odds ratio: 3.1 95% CI: 1.5-6.4, p=0.03) compared to elite female players. There was no difference in the risk of experiencing groin problems between elite, sub-elite or amateur male players. For substantial problems, there was no difference between elite male and elite female players or between any levels of play for senior male soccer players.

Conclusion: We found a high prevalence ofgroin problems among male soccer players during a period with match congestion. Time-loss definition as used in previous injury surveillance studies captured only one third of the groin problems registered using the new method in males. Elite male players had three times higher risk of reporting groin problems compared to elite female players, while playing level did not influence the risk of reporting a groin problem among males.